Tips on making your environment safe
Every person with dementia will have different requirements for keeping a safe environment. Keep in mind some of the changes that occur with dementia:
- Decreased balance and reaction time
- Visual-perceptual problems
- Difficulty walking
- Memory impairment
- Decrease in judgment abilities
- Less insight into environment and situations
To provide a safe home environment:
- Focus on prevention: Take care to look around and see potential hazards such as carpets that may cause a fall, poisons that are easily accessible, a gas-fire stove top, small objects that could choke and doors that could lock accidentally and trap someone inside.
- Be patient and slow down: try not to rush someone with dementia.
- Simplify routines: personal care can become more challenging for someone with dementia, so avoid accidents by breaking down complicated procedures into simpler, step-by-step processes.
- Have an emergency plan: Be ready in case of emergency by keeping a working fire extinguisher nearby, a fully stocked first-aid kit on-hand and a list of emergency numbers by the phone.
Home safety checklist
|Do I need to store the scatter rugs and secure the carpet to prevent falls?|
|Are the stairways safe for the person I am caring for?|
|Is he able to use the electrical appliances in the kitchen and bathroom safely?|
|Should the hot water heater temperature be lowered?|
|Are there any medications, cleaning substances or gardening chemicals that should be locked away?|
|Do I need to be there when he has a cigarette?|
|Should I lock some of the doors or do I need to move the location of the locks on the doors?|
|Should I consider installing some safety equipment in the bathroom (e.g., grab bars, elevated toilet seat, non-slip mat)?|
|Does the lighting sufficiently eliminate shadows that may cause confusion?|
|Are there items that confuse him (e.g., pictures, mirrors)?|
This information is taken from the Alzheimer Journey, Module 2: On the Road. You can get a copy from your local Alzheimer Society.